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James Joyce - Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man 1st edition font ID

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George Thomas

I believe that to be hand lettered because there are too many inconsistencies for it to be type. Look at the /a in Man and then the /a in James as examples. Then there are the very noticeable kerns in the /Yo in Young, the /Po in Portrait and the /oyc in Joyce.

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Riccardo Sartori
16 minutes ago, aleksey said:

appears, to me, to be the same font/lettering

Looking at both covers it seems to me that at least the |James Joyce| part isn’t just composed with the same letters, but it’s exactly the same. See the inconsistency between the two |J|s.

I don’t know enough about vintage printing techniques on hardcovers, but I suspect that the whole name was produced as a single block or plate.


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George Thomas

@Riccardo Sartori -- My thoughts are the same. I believe it was hand-lettered, then a stereotype made of that for debossing the book cover.

In the second sample, note the tight spacing of /bl in Dubliners. In fact the entire word appears to be very tight. Perhaps the publisher's art department did some hand-spacing of a metal proof although my impression of type in that era (1916) is that "tight" typography was not the norm.

If this does turn out to be from a metal font, then it will more likely be from a European foundry.

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